Tributes have been paid to a former long-serving councillor and ‘inspirational mother’ who has passed away.
Wendy Dwyer served as Peel ward councillor in Accrington and was a former chairman of Lancashire County Council.
She stepped down at the local elections this year after a combined 23 years’ service and was made an Honorary Alderman in May.
Mother-of-five Wendy passed away at hospital on Monday, July 25, aged 81 and the cause of death is not yet known.
Her daughter Sandra Dwyer said they are ‘devastated’ at her death.
Speaking on behalf of the family, she told the Observer: “We couldn’t be more proud of mum and all that she was and all that she did for Accrington and Lancashire over many years.
“She was an inspirational woman but she was also our mother and we feel the loss. We are devastated personally because we have lost our beloved mother.”
Wendy, who lived on Stanley Street in Accrington for more than 50 years, was involved with numerous groups, including Homeless in Hyndburn Group.
She was also the chairman of Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Parkinson’s Support Group, which she set up 10 years ago, and chairman of the Helping Hands charity, which helps improve the lives of hundreds of Accrington residents.
The lifelong dog-lover was also a valued volunteer at the Credit Union in Accrington’s Market Hall.
Sandra, who lives in Leicestershire, has thanked Wendy’s council and charity colleagues and friends for their thoughts and tributes.
She said: “We are thrilled by all the kind and wonderful things the councillors are saying and all the people from the charities she ran and was involved with.
“We are very, very grateful for people’s love and support.
She leaves her daughters Sandra Dwyer, Kathryn Dwyer and Nina Dwyer, sons Mark and Paul Dwyer, two granddaughters, one grandson and one great-grandaughter.
Civic flags around the borough were flown at half mast in memory of Wendy.
Sandra said no date has yet been set for the funeral, however it will be open to the public to attend. For information on the funeral arrangements contact Hyndburn Funeral Services on Queens Road in Accrington.
Civic leaders paid tribute to former councillor Wendy Dwyer.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said she was a ‘great lady who will be sadly missed by all’.
He said: “Wendy served many enjoyable years on both Hyndburn Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, plus she had numerous passions and was involved with many charities to make Hyndburn a better place. She was a great lady who will be sadly missed by all and especially the Labour Party.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said she was an ‘amazing woman’ and a ‘proud wife of a local miner, who spent so many years fighting for the people of Baxenden, Barnfield and Peel as well those across Hyndburn’.
Coun Munsif Dad described her death as “a loss to the Hyndburn Labour movement”, adding: “She was an excellent ambassador and she will be missed.”
Conservative councillor Peter Britcliffe said she was a ‘lovely, lovely lady’.
He said: “I was really sad to hear the death of former councillor Wendy Dwyer. I only spoke to her on Friday as she left her voluntary work at the Credit Union.”
He added: “See you next week’, she said. Sadly I won’t and Accrington is a poorer place without her.”
There will be a celebration of Wendy’s life at 1.30pm at Accrington Town Hall on Thursday, August 4, followed by a service at Accrington Crematorium at 3.00pm and then a reception at The Dunkenhalgh Hotel.
The family are happy to welcome friends and colleagues to any or all of the commemorations including the Dunkenhalgh Hotel.
Family flowers only. Donations to Parkinson’s UK - Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Support Group and Hyndburn Stray Dogs in Need
Funeral director: Hyndburn Funeral Services, Queens Road, Accrington, 01254 233133.